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Melrick

Record-breaking summer

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This is an insight into what it’s been like for us this record-breaking summer. Keep in mind we have no air conditioning at home.

 

It’s 9am and already it’s sweltering; you’re in for a bad day. As the day drags on, the temperature ratchets inexorably upwards.  115F.  Again.  Soon it’s an oven inside the house. The pedestal fans push the hot air around in a never ending exercise in futility; they’re better than nothing, but only just.

No matter how much you drink, your thirst is never quenched. But you’re drinking liquid faster than your body can digest it, so you inevitably end up feeling bloated and physically sick. And still you feel thirsty. Always thirsty.

You go outside the hang out the washing. The sun beats down on your head like hammer blows, and you can easily see how someone could die very quickly out here with no water. If any wind blows then it’s a hot wind, and feels like someone’s turned on a giant hair dryer on maximum heat. You soon return to the house, but it really is like stepping inside an oven.

Sweat constantly covers your entire body. You decide the splash cool water on your face and arms and any other exposed skin, but you have to let the cold water tap run for quite a while, because all you initially get is hot water. It’s nice and cool, especially when you return to your usual position in front of the fan, but all too soon the water is again replaced by sweat.

Your appetite is almost non-existent. Breakfast cereal for lunch and sandwiches for dinner is good enough. The idea of eating anything hot is laughable.

Late afternoon or early evening you decide to take a shower, to wash off the day’s sweat. While you’re standing under the water, it’s deliciously cool, and you’re reluctant to turn off the taps, but as soon as you do, you’re immediately hot again. You dry yourself from head to feet, but by the time you reach your feet, your top half is wet again, this time from sweat. You’re wasting your time trying to dry yourself so you give up and get dressed.

Night falls, and brings with it virtually no relief at all. You know full well you won’t be sleeping tonight. The usual pattern is to toss and turn all night, next night fall asleep through sheer exhaustion, followed by the next sleepless night, and so it goes round.

You lay on the sheets, which are soon saturated with sweat. Your pillow likewise quickly becomes wet. You eventually turn over the pillow to the nice, cool, dry side. By the time you later turn it over again, the other side will now be dry. And so it repeats, all night long.

You’d like to wash the sheets every day, but you just can’t afford the water bill. So you have to sleep on your sheets until you can’t stand the smell of stale sweat any longer, only then do you change them.

If the night was sleepless then you finally get up when the sun starts to rear its scorching head. It’s already hot, but at least it’s the coolest part of the day. And so the dance continues, just waiting for the next cool change, and a strong one this time, one that will blow the heat away for more than just a few hours. But the roasting heat will return. It’s a record-breaking summer for a good reason.

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Christ… I hate the heat. I’ll take cold over unbearable heat any day of the week. But then, just like it doesn’t get that unbearably hot here, neither does it get as cold as mainland Europe, or the US. We are soooo lucky. :/

I can’t possibly suggest anything you don’t already do to try and take it down a notch. Frozen towels I’ve said before… rinsing clothing under the tap and putting it on wet (done that one too). Sweet things (including ice cream) – just don’t. Sorry. I just wish I could do something.

When I was a child and it was hot and sunny out, you could always find me hiding away from it. I’d get headache and curl up on the settee… my Dad used to call it sunshine fever. But to this day I swear it was real. I’ve always thought it was something to do with being born in our hottest summer of ‘76, and being immediately wrapped up in woollens for the first few months of my life. But even then you’re talking 90-95f, which is nowhere near what you’re enduring. I would think at the moment, 90f would be a relief for you. So sorry :(

 

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I’m not a fan of cold, but neither am I fond of humidity. I do better with drier heat, but even as heat tolerant as I am, there are limits.

I know they can be stupidly expensive, but the Dyson cooling fans are utterly brilliant. I don’t know if you have them in Australia, or if there are similar fans, but they are far more energy efficient than air conditioners and work extremely well. A friend of mine got one for her lake cottage, and almost never uses the actual wall mounted air conditioner she had put in. The Dyson cools the place very well, and it’s comfortable—not freezing like air conditioners can be. They’re also portable, so can be moved from room to room. It’s a thought, to help you and mum. If not for this year, think about it for next year. You might catch sales at the end of summer.

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90F would be a relief. lol  And yes, we do have those Dyson fans.  You’re right in them being very expensive.  I’ve never actually stood in front of one so I’ve never known how effective they are compared to regular fans.  I won’t bother with this summer now, but next summer I’ll have to look at doing something different.  If those fans are better then I’ll seriously see about getting one, at least one for mum.  I can put up with the heat.

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I will not pretend to know how they do it, but even without blades, they cool and circulate the air quite nicely. I thought it was all a marketing thing until I saw it in action at my friend’s cottage. It was nearly 100F, and her place was perfectly cool.

I’m thinking of getting some at the Dyson store on Ebay, if they’re cheaper than my big old air conditioner at the lake. Here in the city, my electric is part of my monthly common charges, so I don’t care one way or the other. But at the lake, I get the dreaded electric bill, so...

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Our electricity is over twice as expensive as the US on average, so energy costs of things are a very important factor, which is why air conditioners aren’t a choice for us.  Fans, on the other hand, don’t use much power.  I’ll definitely have to check out those Dyson’s before next summer.

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